The Kings are struggling to make strides in the win column, but the organization may be building a reputation that could provide some help in that category in the future.
Former King Greivis Vasquez recently hinted in an interview with Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee that he would be open to resigning with the Kings when he becomes a free agent.
Why? Because of how Vivek Ranadive and company run the show.
Here is Vasquez in the Bee:
"I really like Coach Malone. I have a great relationship with him and the coaching staff," Vasquez said. "(Principal owner) Vivek (Ranadive), they treated me like a first-class franchise. I have no complaints; it's just part of the business. If they consider me and I'm a restricted free agent, anything can happen."
This coming from a guy who was the new ownership group's first major trade acquisition last summer and was swiftly exchanged in the Rudy Gay deal just months later.
Comments like this about the Kings being a player-friendly organization are becoming more frequent around the league and there are many examples as to why. Jimmer Fredette, for instance, wasn't going to get a lot of playing time on the Kings after the trade deadline came and went and the organization decided it was time to see what it really has in Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum. Fredette, obviously, was not in the future plans of the Kings so they bought out his contract, which allowed him to sign with the Chicago Bulls.
Moves like this have received recognition around the league.
Buying out Jimmer Fredette instead of keeping him until summer is something agents appreciate and it shows front office is player-friendly.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 26, 2014
Here is Fredette via James Ham:
"Vivek [Ranadive] and Pete [D'Alessandro] and everybody that was involved -- Mark Mastrov and the guys in the front office -- they were all true to their word. They said they wanted to do what was best for me and for my career and they were able to do that. Because of that, I really appreciate them and them all as human beings and as owners and front office people of the team."
(Unfortunately for Fredette, he is still waiting for his chance at extended minutes in Chicago.)
Another example of the opportunity the Kings have provided players was the chance they have given Royce White. The forward has had his fair share of issues since joining the NBA, including his battle with an anxiety disorder and his inability to work things out in Houston with the Rockets. The Kings, of course, signed him to a 10-day contract, giving him a second chance to prove himself in Reno with the Bighorns.
Here is White via Sean Cunningham of News 10:
"Pete's [D'Alessandro] one of the best guys I've met in this league and the owner [Vivek Ranadive] is a very progressive, open-minded guy," White said.
He then proceeded to say the following, which is likely a pretty accurate summary of how much all of this will truly impact things in the long run.
"It all just happenstance, we didn't do a lot of homework like we like these guys over these guys," White said.
A lot of players say the "right" things when they need to. A lot of teams give players opportunities and second chances if it isn't going to cost too much. A lot of teams buy out contracts of players who will only serve as dead weight. So in reality, maybe all of this truly doesn't help a TON, but it is worth pointing out that there has been a steady flow of reminders about this Kings front office this season, which is surprising given the revolving door of players we have seen.
And it appears to tie in with a team philosophy.
"I've said this before, (new Kings owner) Vivek Ranadive is a person who is about opportunity, right? He gave a first-time coach in Michael Malone an opportunity, and a first-time GM an opportunity. We're an opportunity organization, and we see this as an opportunity for him to have a fresh start as well. And I feel like it's such a positive organization as a result of ownership and where it comes from. It's such a positive-minded place that if there's a place for people to achieve, I think this is fertile ground for that."
Again, just because players, including Rudy Gay, have gotten a second chance in Sacramento doesn't mean that there is going to be an influx of big-name free agents flocking here in the future, but it can't hurt. Combine that with Ranadive's "NBA 3.0" vision and a new arena on its way in downtown Sacramento and maybe, just maybe, if it's all put together it could help a future free agent check a "yes" box in a "Should I sign in Sacramento?" pros and cons list. And that goes for Gay as well.
Here is what he told Sactown Royalty last month:
"The organization is great. They've been nothing but great to me since I've been here," Gay said. "They work hard to keep guys happy."
Based on how this season is going, it's obvious there are a lot of things that need to take place before the Kings return to prominence. As the season gets closer to its finale, however, there are some positives to point to, and the reputation the Kings are earning as a player-friendly organization is definitely one.